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The discourse of technical instructions: Implications for teaching English to Jordanian technical personnel

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Title: The discourse of technical instructions: Implications for teaching English to Jordanian technical personnel
Author(s): Al-Rusan, Mohammed Mustafa
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Maclay, Howard
Department / Program: Education
Discipline: Education
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Education, Language and Literature Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract: The importance of technical instructions in the Armed Forces derives from the fact that the reader's optimal response is the accurate and safe performance of operational, corrective or preventive maintenance tasks in the shortest time possible.This study is an attempt to investigate the rhetoric of technical instructions. It investigates the following questions: What are the main textual dimensions which underlie the rhetoric of technical instructions? What characterizes technical instructions? What pedagogical implications follow from the results of the analysis?Although the study is based on the analysis of 65 sample texts from six text groups, the approach is not purely linguistic. Performance, following written instructions, is viewed as a problem-solving process that includes a plan. The role of instructions is to provide a solution outline that includes a description of the current state, the goal, and the operators that lead to the desired achievement.Chapters 1 and 2 include a general introduction to the topic and a discussion of technical instructions. Chapter 3 is a review of the relevant literature from linguistics, cognitive psychology, Artificial Intelligence, and discourse analysis.Chapter 4 discusses the general characteristics of technical instructions, and the assumed textual dimensions of technical instructions.Chapter 5 describes the data, the variables, the methodology, and the results. The methodology involved a large-scale analysis of the frequency of 34 syntactic and cohesive features in a 19,000 sample. From the distribution patterns of the features, the factor analysis yielded three factors. The interpretation has shown that these factors are parameters along which the writer's plan serves the general communicative function of 'instruction'. The discriminant analyses have highlighted some salient features that characterize the discourse of technical instructions.The applied implications are examined in Chapter 6. I have suggested that instructional texts could be a rich learning source. Therefore, the organizational plan and the textual dimensions should be revealed to EST learners to enable them to critically approach any instructional text as a whole unit, to evaluate it, and to provide missing elements and improve others. A number of suggestions for teaching technical instructions have been provided.
Issue Date: 1990
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/23289
Rights Information: Copyright 1990 Al-Rusan, Mohammed Mustafa
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9021647
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9021647
 

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